Millers first exposure to the theater had been at High Mass, with all its pomp and circumstance. He felt that all good theater includes something religious about it. When still at St. Patricks High, he played the British queen Victorias private secretary in Laurence Housmans Victoria Regina (pb. 1934) for a production at Marywood College in Scranton. Eventually, his stage appearances took him around much of the United States, but one role in the premiere of Robert Montgomerys Subject to Fits at the New York Shakespeare Festival Public Theater in 1971 had special significance for his career: There he met the famous producer Joseph Papp and the equally illustrious director A. J. Antoon. Papp, after some hesitation and editorial changes, agreed to stage what came to be Millers best-known work, That Championship Season, in 1972.
Millers first full-length play, Nobody Hears a Broken Drum, had enjoyed a very short Off-Broadway run in 1970. The play is about a vigilante group, the Molly Maguires, active in the Pennsylvania coal mines in the nineteenth century. That Championship Season saw 144 performances at the Public Theater before moving to the Booth Theater on Broadway for an additional 844 shows. Within a year, Miller had won the Pulitzer Prize, the Tony (Antoinette Perry) and New York Drama Critics Circle Awards, as well as the Outer Critics Circle Award for Most Promising Playwright of 1972. The prizewinning play was made into a film, written and directed by Miller in 1982, and a television version was adapted by Miller in 1999.
That Championship Season, based on Millers experience at St. Patricks High School in the 1950s, depicts the twentieth anniversary reunion of four members of the Pennsylvania State High School basketball team celebrating their 1952 victory. At this reunion, held at the coachs home, the liquor keeps flowing, and the nostalgic, lighthearted evening soon becomes bitterly argum View More »